Bernie Ecclestone, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

F1’s sustainability push wouldn’t have happened under Ecclestone, says Hamilton

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1’s new efforts to reduce its impact on the environment have happened because the previous management headed by Bernie Ecclestone was replaced by Liberty Media.

The Mercedes driver said environmental awareness is one of several areas where Formula 1 needs to make progress.

“I’ve been talking about this stuff for some time now,” he said. “I’m talking about diversity, talking about needing to change, for example, the lower ranking of karting because it’s too expensive and also it’s not diverse at all. So there’s a bunch of things that they are doing I think it’s great to finally Formula 1 is reacting.

“In general, that’s what a lot of the big businesses are doing nowadays. They said they were being sustainable by recycling some paper or something like that in their office, but it was wasn’t a priority. But now it is a priority.”

The Mercedes driver said on Thursday he intends to become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2020. The sport’s current owners Liberty Media have revealed to drivers details of a new plan to reduce the sport’s impact on the environment.

“It’s great to hear of the new plans that they have in place,” said Hamilton. “And of course, I’d be supportive of it. A lot of the impact, I won’t be around for that, but I’d love to be a part of it and helping move the sport forwards because when I retire, I’m still going to be watching racing. I’m always going to be a fan of it.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2019
“I’ve been talking about this stuff for some time now”
He doubts the changes would be happening if the sport was still under its previous management.

“I’m glad that Liberty has come in because I’m not quite sure if Bernie was here they would have made any changes,” he said. “They still wouldn’t have social media because he thought it was useless and it’s just not important, all these different things.”

More details of the sport’s efforts to reduce its production of carbon dioxide will be revealed to the public before the end of the year. Lando Norris was among those who saw F1’s presentation ahead of this weekend’s race.

“It was actually quite good in terms of the people who are running it,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “It seems like they have a good idea, they have a good plan.

“They’re saying there’s a big push to try and change everything and anything they’re doing is for a good reason, to try and help the planet and environment and everything. Everything they did had a good reason behind it.

“It seems like it is, from what I saw, achievable over the next few years.”

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23 comments on “F1’s sustainability push wouldn’t have happened under Ecclestone, says Hamilton”

  1. Depressed F1 Fan
    27th October 2019, 14:31

    Euhm… Formula 1 has been compensating CO2 emissions since 1997…

    It isn’t until now, that greenwashing has reached its pinnacle and “sustainability” has become a profitable thing.

    Noone is talking about actual sustainability, just about making things more efficient or less polluting per unit of production.
    Not even Hamiltons vegan diet is sustainable, its merely less polluting.

    Let’s hope this hype paves the way for actual sustainsbility, and not for more avocado toast and quinoa salads…

  2. Nonsense Lewis, of course it would have happened under Bernie, so long as Bernie made money from it that is.

    1. You do realize “sustainability” and “making money” are antithetic, on a certain level, right?

      1. Sustainable farming has to be profitable, otherwise there’s no point in it. If it isn’t sustainable and profitable then you’re doing it wrong! This is what No Till farming is all about: using the land to produce products in a way that doesn’t just minimise damage to the soil, but actually enhances the natural ability of the top soil to produce products, so you’re getting better products, which you then sell for a better profit. Good No Till farming discourages the use of (costly) fertilisers, (costly) herbicides, and (costly) pesticides because these ultimately kill the beneficial bacteria and fungi within the top soil, resulting in inferior products and degradation of soil quality. Instead you use practices like mixing your crops because multiple plant types growing together is considerably more beneficial to the soil bacteria and fungi than just a monoculture, which in turn is beneficial to all the plants, so the plants grow better and healthier, which makes them taste better and be worth more.
        Carbon is essential to the interaction between plants and the bacteria and fungi within top soil. Everything above the ground benefits when there’s a good interaction between plants and the bacteria and fungi, and if there’s poor interaction then everything above the soil is affected too, so plants grow slower and are less healthy. Without Carbon there’d be no interaction between the plants and the bacteria and fungi within the soil. Plants generate sugars which they feed to the bacteria and fungi and in return get minerals and trace elements essential to being healthy.
        I think too much emphasis is placed upon Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant and not enough as an essential part of the food chain. I believe that responsible use of “fossil fuels” can be beneficial to both man and this planet.

        1. @drycrust: This is just the sort of thing a carbon-based life form would state. ;-)

          And it’s also spot on.

          1. @dycrust is so spot on, even on fire (if I didn’t miss any irony). Progress of technology is the only way => F 1makes sense, but it could be so much more

        2. @dry-crust not wrong, but omitting that there’s currently excess carbon in the atmosphere.

          There’s more carbon and fewer carbon sinks to absorb it (e.g. forests).

          So yes, carbon is essential for life, but as with anything, it’s must be balanced with everything else.

          Indeed water is also essential for life, but too much upsets the balance and can cause huge destruction.

          Currently our atmosphere is in flood—not with water, but with carbon. There’s too much for the natural world to keep up with, especially since we keep clearing the natural areas which absorb it.

          1. @justrhysism If there is too much Carbon in the atmosphere (and I don’t understand that argument), then surely one option would be to improve the quality of top soil, which would benefit farmers and the products they produce. Instead it seems poor less-sustainable farming practices are encouraged, which reduces the quality of the top soil and the products being produced. Poor quality top soil contains less Carbon than good quality Top Soil.
            Even if all motor sport stopped using hydro-carbons as a motive power the poor farming practices would remain, meaning the levels of CO2, CH4, etc in the atmosphere would continue to rise. If, on the other hand farming practices were changed in line with No Tillage types of farming, these would improve top soil, then that would provide a “Carbon sink” which would help to lower the Carbon levels in the atmosphere. It would also improve food quality. I don’t know what science considers as a safe level of CO2, but to my thinking if it was 0 then that would mean plants couldn’t grow.

          2. @drycrust top soil in Australia is pretty good, produces great food; has minimal impact to the carbon levels—especially since the land is often originally bushland (holding lots of carbon) which has been cleared (and often burnt, releasing the carbon) to plant crops.

            Scientists aren’t trying to get to zero carbon in the atmosphere. Supposedly the safe number is 350 ppm (currently in excess of 400 ppm).

            It’s going to take more than just better farming practices to get the levels back down.

      2. I disagree with this strongly Motorsport is the only place where vehicles can me made without having allowance for environment.
        Also the sound of f1 personally I wish they went back to high displacement v10

  3. With that facial hair, Ecclestone looks like Damon Hill, back from a time vortex in which he’s spent 30 years brooding. And not looking too happy about it.
    Plus Hamilton is right of course.

  4. I mean he was an old rich guy, doubt he was very progressive

  5. What’s next Lewis? Participation medals?

    1. I want him to denounce fascism, honestly.
      Because that’s at the focus of it all.

  6. Lewis races a car for a living and flies to 20 something races per year. He vacations like most people do. How many sets of tires will he go through today? I’ve only gone through 1 set in 5 years on my truck. When he retires someday and rides a bicycle for the rest of his life I’ll take him seriously but for now I can’t.

    1. When he retires some day, you’ll just find a new excuse to not bother

      1. spot on, Mr. Jones !

      2. the point is, that F1 never needed a push towards sustainability. Engineers will ever strive for less weight / load => they will ever look for more efficient fuel consumption. It never needed any complicated regulation for this issue. When you are pushing a machine to its limits you automatically gain knowledge how to run it more efficiently at lower loads. And like the car manufacturers involed stand for circa 20% of global car production, meaningful impact is given

  7. Mmm, except the new power units, banning refueling, tire limits all happened under Bernie.
    Not sure where he gets this idea. Plenty of opportunities for real criticism of Bernie that this just seems misplaced.

  8. Oil companies, oligarchs and politicians, military bands and jets flying overhead. It isn’t exactly a brand most young people will adore to is it. 20thCentury.

    1. also spot on ! We could easily get on without unnecessary jets and oligarchs; but we shoud never negate that pushing such machinery ever further, must lead to knowledge about running more “civil” machines ever more efficient. This is why I call F1 the most meaningful and relevant sport of all.

  9. the point is, that F1 never needed a push towards sustainability. Engineers will ever strive for less weight / load => they will ever look for more efficient fuel consumption. It never needed any complicated regulation for this issue. When you are pushing a machine to its limits you automatically gain knowledge how to run it more efficiently at lower loads. And like the car manufacturers involed stand for circa 20% of global car production, meaningful impact is given

  10. and you could accelerate evolution towards thermal efficiency of 60% even more via de-standardising engine electronics — and on the long run you must allow for methanol fuel cell and turbine technology — otherwise this sport will become obsolete (flying 20 identical cars around the world with 6 Jumbo-Jets…)

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